Science Update

Researchers demonstrate the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with asthma

Asthma has become more prevalent over the past decade, with many patients managing their asthma with medication and by avoiding environmental triggers.

In a new study published earlier this year, researchers demonstrated the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with bronchial asthma. In this study, researchers compared the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids to sublingual immunotherapy in patients with bronchial asthma. Assessments included the asthma control test (ACT), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), and serum interleukin 17A (IL17A) in patients with mild to moderate persistent asthma. Serum 17A levels are used as a marker to demonstrate the efficacy of treatment.

This study included 48 patients divided into two groups of equal size. One group was treated with sublingual immunotherapy for 6 months and the second group was given omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for a 3-month period. Results showed there was a significant difference in each parameter between before and after treatment. The omega-3 fatty acid group was shown to be more effective than sublingual immunotherapy in decreasing IL17A; however, both were effective in decreasing PEFR, FEV1 and ACT.

Since the pathophysiology of asthma is multifactorial, as with many chronic diseases, there are several other nutrients that can support and modulate the underlying dysfunction and immune response. Previous research has shown that Lactobacillus supplementation helps improve asthma severity. Also, low serum vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of asthma. There was a previous study from the journal Allergy which demonstrated that vitamin D could help manage asthma attacks. Asthma patients with a vitamin D deficiency were 25% more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past.

We know vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory effects and it has been shown to have an effect on asthma. Vitamin D has been shown to promote T regulatory cells and a D deficiency has been proposed as one of the causes of the increased prevalence of asthma.

Other nutrients to consider to help relax the airways and provide anti-inflammatory properties include magnesium, vitamin C, and curcumin.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Abdo-Sultan MK, Abd-El-Lateef RS, et al. Efficacy of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation versus Sublingual Immunotherapy in Patients with Bronchial Asthma. Egypt J Immunol. 2019 Jan;26(10):79-89.